Okay my friend Renee has spoiled me by sending in these beautiful images from a recent photoshoot that Eddie and Felicity did!
– Eddie Redmayne Web > Outtakes > 2014 > 020
So handsome. So charming. So…British. We go behind the scenes with the star of The Theory of Everything
Eddie is interviewed for Gotham Magazine by his friend Andrew Garfield. Plus a nice new photoshoot!
Eddie Redmayne knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. BFF actor Andrew Garfield gets the scoop on how his pal nailed the part.
“The idea you get paid to act doesn’t seem permissible—it doesn’t seem like it should be allowed,” Eddie Redmayne says to Andrew Garfield in his interview for Gotham magazine. That joy in performing, along with a prodigious talent, was recognized early: Two years after his stage debut, with the Shakespeare’s Globe Theater Company, Redmayne, an alum of Eton where Prince William was a classmate, won a prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer. He went on to dazzle critics in the Donmar Warehouse and Broadway productions of Red and in Tom Hooper’s 2012 movie Les Misérables.
But it is his sublime performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything that has earned Redmayne a spot on Hollywood’s coveted A-list. The Oscar buzz started the moment the film screened at the Toronto Film Festival. “It means the world,” Redmayne has said repeatedly of the critical kudos the movie has received. But he was also quick to point out that “because of the stakes of the film” and the “utter relief” he felt when Hawking and his family said they enjoyed it, he just wants to do whatever he can to get people to go and see this “inspiring, unknown story.”
ANDREW GARFIELD: The last time I was with you was at the Toronto Film Festival, for the world premiere of The Theory of Everything. I just want to say—because it’s the truth—that there is nothing but freedom that I saw in your performance. I saw no stress, no fear. I didn’t see any acting. I saw a man in the heart of his craft, leaving his entire body—the parts of his body that he was allowed to use—and soul. I saw a masterful piece of work by one of my best mates, and it left me feeling completely ecstatic.
EDDIE REDMAYNE: Thank you for the kind words. That means a lot.
AG: I wanted to know how you felt that night, because it’s evident how personal this film was for you.
ER: There is something horrifically unnatural about actors watching themselves on a big screen with an audience. You end up scrutinizing all the things you are frustrated with. When you’re spending months trying to replicate and embody [Hawking’s] facial movements or his voice, you begin to believe you can get to what you see in the documentary, but you never do. The process of preparing for this film was particularly complicated because we weren’t shooting chronologically. We had to do this physical decline [out of sequence].
AG: And [there’s] the responsibility of playing not only a living, breathing human being, but this living, breathing human being.
ER: Stephen has so much humor. It’s very difficult for him to communicate—now he can only do so using an eye muscle—yet he has the most fiendish timing. I belly-laughed a lot in his presence. That’s something we really tried to bring into the film, to always find the positive. Hearing the audience laugh at that premiere, and to have them feel like they were allowed to laugh, despite the subject matter—a family dealing with gritty obstacles—made me so happy. Because that’s the feeling I had when I left my meeting with Stephen. He’s had a guillotine over his head since the age of 21, yet he lives each moment hopefully, and lives life with humor. When I saw the audience responding to those parts of the film, I was thrilled.
AG: I have chills hearing you talk about it. Much of that [laughter] has to do with the effervescence that you brought [to the role of] a strangely charismatic astrophysicist genius, with this lust and vitality for living, which it sounds like is his true essence.
ER: Hawking took on an idol-like status. When you’re in a room with him, he absolutely controls it. He really has an amazing strength, which can be difficult and complicated. He loves women, and women love him. You can see this glint in his eye.
AG: It’s clear that your core has shifted and your essence has deepened from spending time with this man. How has inhabiting him shifted Eddie?
ER: I met him five days before we started filming. That was after five months of prepping and reading everything, and, of course, desperately trying to comprehend as much astrophysics as I could—which is not very much. Because we weren’t shooting chronologically, I had to prep a performance much more technically than I’ve ever had to before. What scared me was [the possibility that] meeting him a few days before could have undermined all that, and I don’t mean just the physical side. What if there were parts of his character that didn’t ring true? Fortunately, what I gained from the experience was his humor and wit and joy of life, as well as minute physical things.
AG: When you first read the script, did you get the sense that this movie was going to be a massive healing experience?
ER: I met 30 to 40 people suffering from motor neuron disease [which afflicts Hawking] and their families. One person described it as being in a prison cell where your walls just get smaller every day. Your brain is obviously functioning entirely, and as a consequence, there’s this sort of timer on your life. Time shifts, so every hour is like a day, every day is like a week, and every week is like a month. I’m such a culprit for getting caught up in my own foibles. But you have to realize just how damn lucky you are and make the most of every minute. I have to keep reminding myself, because you quickly get back to the same pattern of frustrations.
AG: You take on a project that has deep meaning to you and you experience so much personal growth, then old habits come back in, and suddenly you’re buying Us Weekly…
ER: My favorite, FYI.
AG: Singing to, I don’t know, to a third-rate Rihanna song as opposed to a first-rate Rihanna song.
ER: Or maybe a little Swift.
AG: I know that Stephen has seen the film. Who else?
ER: Stephen and Jane [Hawking’s ex-wife] and the family were the people that Felicity [Jones, who plays Jane] and I were most nervous about seeing the film, because their story is an incredibly passionate and inspirational one. It feels like such a responsibility, particularly when they had been very generous with their time. I’d be curious to see Dr. Katie Sidle, an amazing doctor, and the clinical nurse, Jan Clarke, from the Queen Square Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases [where Redmayne interacted with MND patients] watching it. I don’t know how you feel about promoting films, Garf—but for once, when you care about a story and you want people to see the story because it’s affected you and you want it to affect others, I feel quite invigorated doing press.
AG: What I’m hearing you say is you’re having the experience of serving something greater. You get to show up for all of those with ALS, for all who have had struggles with living their fullest life. The main testament to the soul of the film is the fact that Hawking and the family responded the way they did. That’s kind of “game over,” you know what I mean? So I have no fear. You fear away.
ER: Thank you, mate. You know I’ll fear away; that’s my modus operandi. Even though the story is very specific, it’s symbolic of how people deal with obstacles in their lives. Jane Hawking ended up being a huge advocate for [the rights of the disabled], making places accessible for people in wheelchairs. Because Stephen was so iconic, she really broke boundaries.
AG: Can I ask about the balance you had to strike between technique and spontaneity? When an actor plays a real human being, there’s an expectation of how they are going to do a good impression or some kind of mimicry. I know that everyone who sees the film feels you don’t just inhabit the body; you inhabit the soul. Can you talk a little bit about that?
ER: I said to James [Marsh, the director] I’d need time [to prepare], and he gave me four to five months. Hawking was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21. His disease is entirely secondary [to his life] as far as he’s concerned. Similarly, I wanted to make all the physical elements of the performance so embedded and second nature. Some of my favorite moments were improvised. The emotional lines of the film came from reading Jane and Stephen’s books, but also the patients that I met.
AG: This is a hard question: We get to have these incredible, soul-enriching experiences. Do you have any practices to keep yourself in that deeper, more aware and conscious place?
ER: The answer is I don’t have an answer, and like you I am still trying to figure it out. I guess the answer is making sure you’re fulfilled in other interests in your life.
AG: You were an art history major back in your Cambridge days.
ER: I was asked in an interview this morning what I would be if I wasn’t an actor, and I said a curator. But I think that was far too hyperbolic.
AG: No, buddy. I’ve spent some time with you in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and it’s really awesome to walk around with you. I was with a top-class tour guide because your knowledge and passion are so deep. I remember when you would talk about Red [the Tony-winning Broadway show] and Rothko, your blood was pulsing. You were a man at the exact right place in his life, doing exactly what he should be doing.
ER: What I loved about Red is that it was a meeting of all the things I was interested in. That rare moment when all the stars align.
AG: What happens when you have the opposite experience in work?
ER: You go home, drink a lot of red wine, cuddle up to your teddy bear, and cry. There are some amazing directors out there, but they have a set of ground rules that work brilliantly for some people, but that often make me tense up and go back to that safe, crap place. The only thing I’ve learned in 10 years is if you don’t feel free to mess up and try new things—even if the director has the most brilliant reputation—then it’s never going to work. If you don’t feel like you can take shots that are crazy and bold and will probably fail, then that’s not the right person to be working with.
AG: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a lot of conversations with people of our generation. Possibly because of how competitive it is out there, in terms of the economy and job availability, there’s not a lot of stopping, or just allowing yourself to be enough as you are—without constantly needing to prove something.
ER: I was reading an interview with Rachel Weisz a few years ago and she said, “Every time I finish a job, I think I’m never going to get hired again,” and I was like, “Come on, you’re Rachel Weisz.” But I absolutely get it. Because I think if you’re lucky to do this thing professionally, that you loved doing as a child, and you don’t feel like you’re qualified—it’s that old shtick of waiting to be found out. The idea that you do this job and get paid for it doesn’t seem like it should be allowed.
AG: We’ve mostly shared time in London and LA. What are your feelings about New York City?
ER: I’m weirdly obsessed. When I was 13 or 14, I had a calendar of black and white New York photos and was endlessly trying to do drawings of them. And then my mum took me to New York, and we were lucky enough to stay in this hotel on the 21st floor. I opened the windows and the curtains, and there was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, with all the high-rise buildings flying up above it. I kid you not, my knees buckled. I find New York the most electric, enlivening place. There’s something about the theater world, too. In London the theaters are geographically spread out so there’s no sense of community. In New York, the theaters back onto each other so you’d come out after doing the Rothko play, and Lucy Liu would be walking out from God of Carnage, and you were sharing this back alley, all of you together.
AG: There’s a way to create community in theater that you can’t so much in film because, maybe, there’s just too much money involved.
ER: One of the great New York experiences is where you have a dress rehearsal before your first preview. It’s in the middle of the day so all the other actors and people from other shows can come. I remember Alfred Molina saying, “Ed, don’t expect this audience to be like any other. They will be the most generous audience you’ve ever heard.” We’re so lucky to have the experience of performing on Broadway, or the experience of living in LA. When we started, I would turn up in my really shoddy rental car and park it as far from Paramount as possible, and walk in and pretend as if I knew what I was talking about—you pretend to be living one life when you actually can’t afford to pay your rent. It’s something that has really made our group of friends; it’s so amazing to be able to share that with people.
AG: It’s unlike anything we were raised in, right?
ER: It’s also beyond anything we could have dreamed.
AG: You’ve been so inspired by Jane Hawking and her incredible work. What charities are you involved with right now?
ER: For the past year and a half [I’ve been] working with people who suffer from motor neuron disease [Hawking’s affliction], and I’m one of the patrons of the MNDA, which is the British association. This disease has been around for over a hundred years or longer, and we’re not any closer to finding a cure. That has a lot to do with the fact that not many people have it, so pharmaceutical companies won’t invest in research. [Recently] there was the Ice Bucket Challenge, and people were critical of it because everyone was jumping on the bandwagon. But it was raising awareness. I think the disease has a branding problem because it’s called different things, like motor neuron disease, MND, in the UK, ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. The fact is [the Ice Bucket Challenge] brought attention to the disease. I hope The Theory of Everything will act similarly. The other charity I’ve been working with is the Teenage Cancer Trust in London. For years, I’ve been going to the wards and meeting young people. I feel really privileged in that sense.
AG: Nice, man—you’re a hero.
Eddie did an interview with Josh Horowitz from MTV in his weekly podcast Happy Sad Confused. And he talks about his unfortunate auditions for Star Wars and The Hobbit.
Eddie Redmayne has more than proved himself as a great actor. His “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” totally owns, and he’ll probably get an Oscar nomination for “The Theory of Everything.”
But everybody has bad days.
One bad day in particular may have cost Redmayne a villain role in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
(The relevant portion of the talk starts around the 28-minute mark.)
On the most recent episode of “Happy Sad Confused,” Redmayne described two of the “hundreds” of bad auditions he hoped to never recreated, including his recent brush with “The Force Awakens.”
“Recently my ‘Star Wars’ audition was pretty catastrophically bad. There’s this wonderful casting director called Nina Gold, who I absolutely love,” Redmayne said. “I went in and did this scene, and after seven times of trying to play… [Gold] was like, ‘Got anything else, Eddie?’ I was like, ‘No, I want out.’ ‘I think we’re going to have to agree to part on this one.’ I said, ‘Ok, that’s a childhood dream crushed.’ ”
It’s OK, Eddie. Maybe an Oscar will help console you.
Today Eddie was in Munich doing a photocall for The Theory of Everything.
A special video clip from People and their Sexiest Men Alive series.
The Theory of Everything star reflects back on his worst (and also best!) theater days
Many have talked about how Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne will be “duking it out” during awards season and Benedict has responded to the comments.
“It’s not a rivalry. It’s friendship. People can whip it up as much as they like and we will just stand back and laugh. I will be the first person on my feet if he wins any of the prizes that he will rightfully be nominated for. I haven’t seen his work as Stephen Hawking, apart from the trailers. But I know, because of how much integrity he has, and how extraordinary he has been in every piece of work that I have seen him in, that it will be a masterful moment in cinema history. So I will be front and center screaming, applauding and delighting on any accolade thrown his way.”
What a class act Mr. Cumbercatch is!
Two scans from the new issue of People Magazine.
– Eddie Redmayne Web > 2014 > December 1 | People
Yesterday Eddie took over Focus Feature’s twitter account to do tweets with various press sites including People.com. Here are some of the questions from the People Twitter Chat.
After seeing Eddie Redmayne’s moving performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, we had lots of questions, and we know you did, too. That’s why PEOPLE sat down with the actor so he could tell all – and the questions came straight from our readers!
You wanted to know all about his role in the film, and the actor took to Twitter to dish on everything from Stephen Hawking and science to The Simpsons and his time at the University of Cambridge.
Welcome, Eddie! @KaeleighFuran23 wants to know: How did you get into character? To play Stephen Hawking must be intimidating! #AskEddie
.@peoplemag @KaeleighFuran23 Super intimidating but a great privilege. Learned about @alsassociation @mndassoc & worked with a dancer 4 mvt
From @jamestereo_: #AskEddie Was the process of embodying the character as hard as it seemed to be?
.@peoplemag @jamestereo_ It was hard but hugely rewarding. This film has taught me a vast amount & I got to hang w/Prof Hawking :)
From @_Will_Jacobs: When working on a character, what do you start with first? #AskEddie
.@peoplemag @_Will_Jacobs Changes with each character, but often the physicality and voice/accent.
From @evalewisc: #AskEddie What was going through your mind when you first met Stephen Hawking? Ps. I’m a huge fan :D
.@peoplemag @evalewisc Trying not to make a fool of myself (I made a fool of myself, but he’s truly funny).
From @evalewisc: #AskEddie what was your impression of Stephen Hawking before you started researching him for #TheTheoryofEverything?
.@peoplemag @evalewisc I’d seen him at Cambridge (and on @TheSimpsons). I knew he had a great mind and wit but I was pretty ignorant.
From @wilsonjames_23: @FocusFeatures what were the biggest challenges in taking on this role? #AskEddie
.@peoplemag @wilsonjames_23 There were many tricky parts: the science! But hardest was the shifting physicality (bc film wasn’t shot in seq)
From @samsonitelee: #askeddie What did Stephen Hawking say about your portrayal of him?
.@peoplemag @samsonitelee He was really kind and sweetly offered us his copyrighted voice to use in the film.
And that’s a wrap – thanks for chatting with us, Eddie! (And everyone: Go check him out in #TheTheoryofEverything!)
.@peoplemag Treat chatting with you guys! Hope you enjoy the movie! E.Redmayne signing off.
The Detroit Free Press did this article about Eddie and his performance in The Theory of Everything. They speek with Eddie and his director James Marsh.
Actors can engage in plenty of odd pre-performance rituals, but when it comes to moments you’d rather strangers not see, few compare to hanging out in a London park and mimicking Stephen Hawking.
That was life for Eddie Redmayne in the months before he took on playing the scientist in the new biopic “The Theory of Everything.” Redmayne would practice Hawking’s physicality through the ages while a movement coach captured it all on camera. Then the actor would study the footage and go out and do it all over again.
“It was a little like shooting a love scene,” Redmayne said over lunch at the Waldorf Astoria recently. “You knew it was good for the movie, but there was also a bit of ‘can we get out of here?’ ”
Redmayne makes audience members want to stay firmly in their seats through the James Marsh-directed “Theory,” which focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his former wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), and is based on the second and more gentle of two memoirs she wrote about their marriage. Redmayne plays Hawking with an air of both swagger and wry humor — and a distinct absence of self-pity — while also capturing the subtle but devastating encroachments of Hawking’s rare motor-neuron disease.
It’s a part that evokes the extreme physicality of Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot,” and it has already attracted a slew of attention for the 32-year-old British stage veteran — while reigniting the theory that British actors are just better than other actors at playing period drama.
“There’s this sort of cliche that a British actor likes to put on the clothes and then begins to find the character, and an American actor looks inside first,” Marsh said when asked about the phenomenon. “Both can be brilliant, but they’re very different processes.”
To play Hawking, Redmayne studied nuances like the difference between upper and lower neurons, trying to break down the role to a granular degree. At some point in Hawking’s degeneration, for example, the upper arm might be spastic while the lower half was rigid. Redmayne wanted to capture that, but the effort required an unusually intense kind of mental split. “When a scene ended you’d hear this exhalation and realize just how much energy Eddie was consuming while barely moving,” Jones recalled.
Since Hawking’s condition was degenerative, Redmayne also needed to study the entire life of the septuagenarian scientist. In the years since the 1980s, video footage of Hawking has been abundant, but the several decades before yield only the occasional photograph. Redmayne consulted medical textbooks and talked to nurses who worked with Hawking to reconstruct how his condition evolved over the years.
If all that wasn’t challenging enough, “Theory” was, like most movies, shot out of sequence. That meant Redmayne could be skipping ahead to a latter-life level of degeneration in the morning, then winding the clock back to an early-disease moment in the afternoon. It grew so complicated that the actor kept a chart on set tracking where the film was relative to Hawking’s real-life condition. Each point on the chart would contain the movements he could and couldn’t do, and he would often consult it before jumping into a scene.
“I remember thinking when I started this, ‘Well, this is going to be interesting.’ And it was.” He paused. “Everything would affect everything else.”
Redmayne is a seasoned player on the theater circuit — he won Olivier and Tony awards for his supporting part in the art-world play “Red” and has done “Richard II” in London — but he has had a less prominent film career. His best-known role was as Marius in Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” two years ago.
Good-natured with an outgoing streak, he seems to be hovering between the less Hollywood world he comes from (he attended Cambridge, where he would sometimes see Hawking at a distance, and in a few months will get married to a non-actress, Hannah Bagshawe) and the more slick one he has sometimes dipped into. (He has worked as a model.)
While making “Theory,” the actor worried that he was perhaps taking his Hawking performance too far and feared he might insult the famed scientist. The ice was broken, though, when the two finally met. Redmayne was nervous and began babbling. He even mentioned his birth sign and asked Hawking what his was. There was a pause, and then Hawking quipped, “You know, Eddie, I’m an astronomer, not an astrologer.”